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August 03, 2001

 

Dear Friends,
As I took a short boat trip down the Mississippi River this week I found out that I live just a few blocks from the 45th Parallel line. This means that I am exactly half way between the North Pole and the Equator. And many of you around the world also live near the 45th parallel either north or south of the equator; France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Romania, parts of the former Soviet Union, Mongolia, Manchuria, Japan--and south of the equator, Chili, Argentina, New Zealand, and the Chatham Islands. We all share the 45th parallel. For some reason I feel connected with all of you who share that parallel. Did you ever check to see who else lives on the same parallel line as you do? Or the same meridian line? It is another way to think about those who we are connected to around the world.


WELCOME NEW EMAIL CORRESPONDENTS:
Camille Healy (Jr. League, Cincinnati, Public Affairs), Kathy Ramirez (Jr. League of Monmouth City, NJ). Judi Gay (Coordinator of Volunteer Services/Communication, Central MN Task Force on Battered Women, St. Cloud)


NEWS FROM THE STATES/COUNTRIES:

CALIFORNIA:

A great note from Casey Gwinn (San Diego City Attorney), our colleague in San Diego, who is launching a new project there with all his collaborators in the DV arena.

Thanks for the newsletter. Last month, our Silent Witnesses in San Diego were on display at one of the most exciting events we have ever held in San Diego County. It was the first phase rollout of our countywide Domestic Violence Response Teams. We are shifting to a public health model for dealing with domestic violence issues and our County has finally invested major resources to have specialized response teams to respond to domestic violence calls along with police officers and deputy sheriffs. This will be one of the most comprehensive set of specialized social service and mental health responses to domestic violence calls anywhere in the country. We have had targeted DV response teams for nearly 10 years but we are now expanding it countywide and doing it in concert with our Health and Human Services Department. More importantly, we are now targeting areas with the highest number of domestic violence calls and we are doing specialized prevention work in those areas.

The Silent Witnesses played a powerful role at the conference in reminding us that there is much to do in the prevention arena. While we have dramatically reduced our DV homicides, women are still dying and one death is too many. The stories of the women who have died motivated us all to move forward with our prevention agenda.


And a wonderful note from another San Diego colleague from the City Attorney's Office, Gael Strack. She is who is active in updating the Silent Witness exhibit:

We're hanging in there. Busy with cases, training, working in the community, legislation, issues, etc. We had a close call with a new bill that was proposed ‹ mandated cross reporting of domestic violence reports to CPS. It had very little language to protect battered women. It turned into quite a battle. Long story short, the DV community worked together and were successful in adding more language. WHEW. Close call. If anyone is interested in this issue - let me know. I've got a thick file on this subject now. 

And we're working on our events for October including a new Silent Witness project - hoping to go back and get an exhibit for every DV victim in San Diego that we can document. We only have exhibits for 1995 victims. I also like the T-shirt idea.

Last year I posted all of our DV homicide victims on our website - visit us at www.sandiegodvcouncil.org Need to do it for 2001. 
I appreciate your emails. They inspire us. Keep them coming. 

*We are so excited about this new model emerging in the public health area. We will be eager to see what happens and how the murder rates decrease. And take a photo of your new exhibit when you have the additional figures. Keep up the good work.



ILLINOIS:

Debra Mize, one or our new regional directors, wrote this EXCITING news:

I just received a telephone call from our local Body Shop manager. She had just attended a regional sales meeting. Last October we had a victim displayed in her shop at the local mall. She reported on this at the staff meeting--now the Body Shop is going to contact local silent witness coordinators to have one in as many stores as possible NATIONWIDE for the month of October. One display can lead to so many more!!

*So those of you who have Body Shops in your area may want to jump on this bandwagon. It is a great opportunity to get Silent Witnesses into the fitness arena. Yes. Thanks so much Debra, for this leadership.

And on a sad note, Debra writes:
Also, we are having a rash of killings in St. Louis. Within the past month, three women and two children (each 10 years old) have been killed. One man killed himself, one confessed and one has been arrested for a contract killing. One woman had her throat cut, the next woman and her daughter were burned to death in their house to get insurance money and the third woman and her son were killed at a little league game because she was trying to get an order of protection. I am from the Illinois side of the Mississippi, and while we are very fortunate to have had no murders lately, this is truly too close for comfort.

As you requested a few months ago, since I am one of the ones who have been active for a few years, I am stepping up my efforts a notch. October is coming and at least for that month our witnesses will be out daily. 

*Thanks Debra. We know that we all have a lot of work to do and we appreciate your leadership. 


ISRAEL:

This message from Yaffa Frank, Chair, National Program for Preventing Violence against Women, Hadassah-Israel.

We, the women in Hadassah-Israel, are active in the area of ³Preventing Violence against Women² in several directions. We are broadening our activities more and more, but this is still not enough.

1. We are continuing to put the Witnesses in various public places throughout the country, at our Chapters meetings and at different events. We also give the public petitions to sign, of identification and awareness and we send the petitions to Members of Knesset (Parliament). However, unfortunately, this is not enough. More and more we hear about incidences of women being murdered by their partners!!! 

2. Another direction of activity is accompanying and supporting women who suffered or suffer from violence by their partners. Sometimes these are women who live with the violent husband at their homes, and who turned to the Department of Welfare for assistance. Sometimes these are women who ran away from their husbands and took only their purse and their children. Sometimes these are women who already have been staying in a residence for battered women, and are now coming back to live among the community, but they have to live far away from their husbands and from their homes. These women have a low self-image, usually they do not have any profession, and it is very difficult for them to function. Their children are children at risk who suffered or suffer from violence themselves, and need assistance and care as well.

We help these women in several ways, always working with the Department of Welfare in the area and with their supervision:

One) We try to function as their good friends; we encourage, strengthen, advise, and guide them.
Two) We accompany them to court, to the police, to the schools of their children, and to different institutions; we help them in getting legal assistance, getting their rights from the National Insurance (Social Security), in filling forms, etc.
Three) We encourage them to be independent; to learn a profession; to find a job; to function at home and in the community; to improve their lives and the lives of their children; we help them in increasing their self-confidence!

3. Another direction is manning a ³hot line² or an ³emergency line², to which battered women can call, and our members advise them were they should turn to for help. 

4. Our members are with social workers in ³Communication Center for Custody²; in that center the husbands who were sent away from their houses because of domestic violence ­ meet their children once a week, according to a court order. Our members also guide them how to better communicate with their children, how to play with them, and how to talk to them.

5. In the near future we intend to render assistance to the health system in finding, identifying, and taking care of women who suffer from domestic violence.

6. At the annual Hadassah-Israel conference we had a half-day of activities on the topic ³Preventing violence against women².
One) We heard Mrs. Ofra Keinan who spoke about ³Beit Noa¹m², a unique house in Israel, and in fact in the whole world! It is a residence for battering men, who have been sent away from their homes by court order; they stay at this house for a few months, a period in which they change their behavior. 
Two) Mrs. Ofra Keinan, the initiator of this idea, and of ³Beit Noa¹m², who is a volunteer in this area for many years, has received the Hadassah-Israel Award of Appreciation.
Three) We saw a play ³Mother, it is okay to cry², which illustrated the problem, and shocked us all.
Four) We had discussions in small groups about the question how can we involve more of our members in volunteering in the different chapters throughout the country. 

7. I have personal experience of accompanying and giving support to a woman who suffered from violence, and know about other cases, which our members take care of, but confidentiality makes it impossible for me to talk precisely about these cases. However, I can quote some of these women in our care (one of them also spoke at a study day which we held about the topic), about the assistance which we, Hadassah-Israel volunteers, give to them:
One) ³You are more than a mother and a sister to me; you are more than a family to me².
Two) ³You brought me back my trust in people, and in myself. At last I can see myself as a worthy human being again².
Three) ³You made me and my children smile again. They can raise their heads, go out to visit friends, and feel equal to them². 
Indeed, I saw how my ³friend², who used to be a little, short, bowed, skinny woman who talked in a very low voice, looked when I saw her at court, as if she had become taller. She explained to the judge, with self-confidence, everything that is going on at her house, and the judge was convinced!

You can imagine what it does to our Hadassah-Israel members when they see the results, for the assistance they give. I will quote some of them:
³I feel that I help them during that difficult period in their life, and I help release them from suffering and loneliness².
³If I have the tools that she doesn¹t have, I can help her coping with all her troubles, and I will be there as a good friend for her².
³It¹s about time! I cannot keep silent any more! I must do something about it!²
³I feel very satisfied whenever I can help ­ and there are results, too².
³They are so thankful; they are smiling again, the sad children are smiling too, and it makes me feel good!²

Yes, these are the reactions. And this is only a small part of the whole pictureŠ

8. We participate in meetings of the sub-committee on domestic violence of the Knesset Committee of the Status of Women, but, as mentioned, we all still have a lot to do.

*This is one of the most heartening and inspiring emails we have received. Did you notice in #6 they are starting housing services for batterers to help heal them. Wow. We are all making a difference. Thank you Hadassah-Israel


HUNGARY:

This note from Lois Herman, our Silent Witness International Ambassador:

In the next week, Csilla Grauzer of the Minnesota Hungarians, Inc., will be visiting with Gyorgyi Toth at NANE in Hungary. I am sending a Results 2000 Silent Witness Book to Gyorgyi. The visit will further build ties of Hungarian women here and there. 

*This is great news. We'd love to hear more from Gyorgvi. Her photo is on our web site now. Go look.




PENNSYLVANIA:

A message from Tracy Griffith at the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence letting us know about all the college activity in Pennsylvania. 
Dickinson College, Messiah College, and Shippensburg University in PA have all displayed the SW project several times over the past few years with incredible feedback and impact. The SW project, which is borrowed from Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland & Perry Counties (DVS/CP) in PA, are displayed during the Take Back the Night Rallies at Shippensburg University each year and were present during a purple tulip bulb planting ceremony on the campus co-sponsored by the Shippensburg University Women's
Center and DVS/CP. The "ladies", as DVS/CP refers to the SW project, are displayed throughout the two-county service area dozens of times each year.

*That's exactly what we needed, Tracy. Thanks a lot. See the college list to date in the Worldwide Headquarters section.


SOUTH DAKOTA:

Shirley Erhart, our stalwart friend in SD, writes:

Hi Janet....Just to let you know; once again, SD Coalition Against DV/SA will be holding Domestic Violence Awareness Month/Silent Witness Events throughout the state. This is a month our member programs have always been "out there"..... providing awareness and educational events to our communities.

*Thanks, Shirley for this information and for all you do for the women of SD. We deeply appreciate it.


NEWS FROM WORLDWIDE HEADQUARTERS:

Clarification about our password for new SW exhibits:
None of you Silent Witness participants (or anyone else for that matter) needs a password to get into our site. We are totally open to everyone. Only those who are starting a new SW exhibit or want to use our logo need to get a password to enter the special area in which we have the plans for the silhouettes and our logo design. We are doing this so I can find out who all the newcomers are and welcome them, getting them involved with us and subscribed to the newsletter. Sorry if we confused anyone. our web site is incredibly active. Please look to see if your photo is there and look at the wonderful poetry under sight and sound. And send us new information that we need on the web. www.silentwitness.net


Attention: Everyone who loves those miniature Silent Witness figures. They are now for sale again!!!
The NCJW Office in Pittsburgh is producing them to sell to us. This is wonderful since our former source has dried up. They are offering these cardboard statues for $40 per 100 statues which includes shipping and handling. Sheri Minkoff is the contact sminkoff@juno.com or call the NCJW office at 412-421-6118.


Self Mastery Program: Rose Mary Boerboom
The Self Mastery Training day went exceptionally well in Chicago last week. There were 72 people there and the material was very well received. Now we are eagerly awaiting several people starting to use the principles in their programs. We hope to set up a mentoring system with Rose Mary soon. 

Training Schedule for Self Mastery Treatment Program: Please consider sending someone from your SW group to one of the upcoming workshops.

Minneapolis, MN: September 28, 2001. Details to follow
Montana: Two training programs in 2001-2002
Wyoming: Four training programs around the state in 2002
Rhode Island: Training program in the Fall of 2001. Details to follow. 


Colleges which have housed the Silent Witness exhibit: Please contact us with more names if you know them.
Arizona: Arizona State University (Phoenix)
Illinois: Southwestern Illinois College (Belleville, E. St. Louis)
Kentucky: Murray State University
Michigan: Michigan State University
Minnesota: St. Olaf College (Northfield), Gustavus College (St. Peter), University of Minnesota, Augsburg (Minneapolis), St. Benedict's
(Collegville), College of St. Catherine (St. Paul)

Ohio: Oberlin College, Lakeland Community College (Kirkland), Bowling Green University
New Jersey: Rutger's
New York: New York Institute of Technology (Long Island)
Pennsylvania: Dickenson College, Messiah College, Shippensburg University
Rhode Island: University of Rhode Island, Salve Regina University, Providence College, Bryant college, Brown University, Johnson and
Wales University, Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University.
Texas: Texas A & M
West Virginia: University of West Virginia

Thanks to everyone who wrote us with these updates. We have 2 college coordinators now (Melanie martin and Monica Blaizgis) and we are building a special part of our web site for college participants. This is phenomenal. Our goal is to have the Silent Witnesses on every college campus within a few years.


I leave you today with a quote that Dorothy Lemmey, our faithful friend from Ohio, has on her email page each time she sends a message.

"When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet, at the hundred and first blow it will split in two and I know it was not that blow that did it--but, all that had gone before." Jacob Riis, Journalist and author, 1849-1914

Thank you, all you Silent Witness "stonecutters" out there.

Cheers,

Janet
jhagberg@mn.rr.com 

P.S. Some of you know how crazy I am about baseball, so think of me this weekend as I go to Cooperstown to see the Baseball Hall of Fame and to cheer for Kirby Puckett and Dave Winfield as they are inducted into the Hall.

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